In the Apache httpd project's "support/apxs.in" script, a text surrounded with @ signs comes after #!. That is, the first line of the script is:

#!@perlbin@ -w

Is this a Perl thing or a UNIX kernel thing? In other words, it it possible to execute this script using path/to/script/script_name.in?

If not, then what is the reason to start the script with a #!?

  • 8
    those are .in files (i.e. templates) Feb 2, 2017 at 18:50
  • 2
    As a side note, @ is fine in filenames so if you have an executable called @perlbin@ which accepts the -w option and is able to interpret the contents of that file, then yes you can run that file.
    – Bakuriu
    Feb 3, 2017 at 13:05
  • @Bakuriu: "Valid", yes. "Fine"? Dubious. Feb 3, 2017 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


This looks like a placeholder in an GNU Automake template which is going to be filled in by a configure script. So it's neither a Perl or Unix kernel thing, but a GNU autotools thing.

It is probably from a file in a source distribution, not from a file that was installed on the system through make install or a package manager.

Alternatively, it's from a broken build with GNU autotools that never defined perlbin properly.

That the file has a .in suffix confirms that it is supposed to be processed by configure.

No, you can not execute this file as it is. The placeholder will be replaced with the proper path to the perl executable when you run configure.

  • Yeah the link in the question leads to a source code repository. Feb 3, 2017 at 17:22
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit You know what, I didn't even see that there was a link there.
    – Kusalananda
    Feb 3, 2017 at 17:24
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    Hehe I thought that may have been the case. I have suggested an edit that fixes a couple of problems with it, this being one of them :) Feb 3, 2017 at 17:29
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    Seems like a problem with the styling of Unix.SE -- the link color isn't very distinct from the normal text color.
    – Barmar
    Feb 8, 2017 at 18:56
  • 1
    meta question about link color
    – Barmar
    Feb 8, 2017 at 19:23

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